What was often called the 8.20-meter “jump of desire” (set as the national record of the 2018 Open Nationals) by the miracle of the M Sreeshankar long jump, now lay in ruins by the young man himself from Kerala itself, who finally took three years to break this elusive mark while confirming his ticket to the Tokyo Olympics in a timely manner.
His record jump of 8.26m (well before Tokyo’s 8.22m qualifying standard) came at AFI’s biggest annual event in the Federation Cup, which often witnessed similar breakthrough performances leading the season on Tuesday. in Patiala. But what was more remarkable than his solo big jump was the way he made his jumps on Tuesday.
However, a change in training routine and technique for a short time with another foreign coach leading to the 2019 World Athletics Championships, with rising problems from time to time, saw a sharp decline in his performances with the miracle, which failed to jumped over 8 meters this season. In fact, his biggest training curve came in the Worlds in Doha, where he could not exceed 7.62m in the three jumps to finish 22nd.
A flashback to the past reveals that the 21-year-old Palakkad student struggled to keep up with the hype surrounding his huge jump in Bhubaneswar in September 2018. Of course, the young man has always been enthusiastic and confident enough to strive. to jumps in the 8.50m area after having a strong pre-season training with his coach and father Murali, a former triple jumper.
Fast forward to 2021, a few days before his mercury efforts, Sreeshankar revealed a more mature side of him during a conversation with Indiatvnews.com.
“Right now I don’t want to think about big jumps like 8.40-50. This pandemic break gave me time to think about my performance with my father and we don’t want to strive for just one big jump anymore. Instead, my focus in the Cup of the federation will be to keep my jumps in the region from 8 to 8.20m and be regular in it. Once I have consistently achieved it, I will aim for a bigger one, “Sreeshankar said before reaching the venue.
His attempts in the Patiala on Tuesday were: 8.02 m, 8.04 m, 8.07 m, 8.09 m and 8.26 m (in that order).
Staying true to his words, the jumper not only showed that he is smarter and smarter with time, but also left very excited about the possibilities of the upcoming Olympic Games.
And as wiser as ever, Sreeshankar once again refrained from making high promises.
“I know I’m not a medal contender yet. If I have to be a medal contender, I have to get over 8.10 at least consistently. But I’m sure I’ll reach at least the final,” said World No. 24.
In case you are wondering how high the challenge is to win a medal at the Olympics, the current 3 jumps in the world athletics rankings are 8.69 m (Tajay Gayle from Jamaica) 8.65 m (Juan Echevarria from Cuba) and 8 , 43 m (South Africa) Luvo Manyonga). Gail’s 8.69m also won him Worlds gold
Saying that if Sreeshankar’s performance improves further during the season, then anything is possible. However, we must keep in mind that he is only 22 and has the potential to deliver much more in the coming years than at the upcoming Olympics.